THE BLOG
12/20/2013 01:15 pm ET Updated Feb 19, 2014

The Top 5 Essential Strategies For Entrepreneurs

Starting your own business means wearing tons of different hats and facing endless challenges. The entrepreneurial journey is filled with peaks and valleys. It can be difficult to stay motivated, remember your vision and stay on course, especially during tough economic times. As an entrepreneur who's in the trenches every day, here are the top five lessons that have best served me along my journey:

Stay Focused
When you're starting a new venture, it's easy to get pulled in a million directions. The most important thing you need to remember is to focus on your end goal. But that doesn't mean having tunnel vision. Concentrate on the finish line, but always be open to new and different ways of getting there. Keep your eyes on the prize and know where you want to go.

Build the Right Team
No one's perfect and I've definitely learned from my own mistakes when it comes to hiring the right talent for the right position. The most important lesson I've come away with is to work with people you trust. Lots of people might have the right skill set you're looking for, but do they share your enthusiasm, emotional intelligence and values? Don't just look at their credentials, look at how they're going to fit in personality-wise. Remember, they're going to be working in a team, so everyone else needs to get along with them, too.

Don't Be Afraid of Change
Many roads can lead to the same destination, so stay flexible. People often think veering off from the original plan is a bad sign, but in truth, it's important to recognize when something's not working or could be evolved for the better. That way, you have the chance to turn a setback into a positive. A successful entrepreneurship is a long road and often, tweaks and pivots are needed. It doesn't have to mean there's an issue; it just means you're keeping an open mind to methods you haven't tried before. The capacity to evolve signals adaptability and leads to progress.

Ensure Proper Funding
Proper funding and resources are key. Funding is essential to the survival of any new venture. Consider self-funding if possible. The advantage is that you retain more ownership. It also ensures a level of commitment on your part and can appear more attractive to investors. After all, how can you expect others to want to invest if you won't? If you do opt for outside funding, be realistic about your needs. Don't seek big bucks just to get them. If you take money you don't need, you end up looking reckless. Think carefully about how much you need and then self-fund or seek it from the right sources.

Believe in Yourself
It sounds trite, but it can be tough to stay positive when dealing with the unavoidable ups and downs of starting and running any business. You must believe in your vision, even in the face of detractors and naysayers. They will always be there, so it's crucial to rise above the noise. This doesn't mean to ignore critical feedback given by sound advisors - consider all feedback thoughtfully. What's important is to stay positive at all times and don't be afraid of failure. Any failure is just one of many stepping-stones on the way to success. Keep your eyes on the prize and focus on your ultimate destination- not the bumps in the road.